IMI Honorary Chair: Michael Leathes

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After taking his law degree at Manchester, England, Michael was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 1970 and gained an LL.M in European Law in 1972 at Exeter University.  He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1984.  He has never been in private practice, preferring to develop his career as an in-house counsel from the start.  Michael has spent most of his 35-year career as an in-house counsel for a number of international companies.

He began with The Gillette Company in 1972 until 1979 when he moved to Pfizer Europe in Brussels as Legal Director until 1984.  In that year he became General Counsel of Pfizer International based in New York City.  In 1987, he was appointed Secretary General of a European pharmaceutical industry trade federation in Brussels. 

Michael spent 8 years from 1989 as Legal Director and General Counsel of International Distillers & Vintners, now part of Diageo.  One of those eight years was spent in a line role as President of IDV EurAsia. 

In 1997, Michael joined British American Tobacco, the world’s second largest trademark owner, as Head of Intellectual Property and General Manager of of Batmark Limited, BAT’s global IP-owning company.

In all of these roles, Michael has managed a considerable number of disputes worldwide.  He has been a strong user of mediation since the 1980s.  From 2002-2006, he served on the Board of CPR Institute, the first body to promote mediation systematically in the United States.

Michael retired from BAT in 2007 at the age of 60 and immediately began work on a pro bono basis with the American Arbitration Association, the Singapore Mediation Centre and the Netherlands Mediation Institute and latterly ICC and JAMS to create the International Mediation Institute (IMI), a charitable foundation registered in The Hague of which he is a member of its Board of Directors. 




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